Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also confirms that the research has followed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts who were not members of the research team read a draft report of the research. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. Reviewers do not have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve how the research team analyzed its results or reported its conclusions. Learn more about PCORI’s peer-review process here.
In response to peer review, the PI made changes including
- Clarifying what they meant by following an “intention-to-treat principle” in designing analyses. The researchers explained that they included all participants who were randomized in the analysis, using statistical approaches to account for missing follow-up data from participants who had dropped out of the study.
- Modifying the Discussion and Conclusion sections of the report to reflect the considerable heterogeneity of treatment response in the three treatment groups. The reviewers pointed out that, although some patients in each study arm improved considerably, the variability in response was large enough to make the overall differences between study arms very small.
- Adding a discussion in the Limitations section about the potential for bias in the results because of differences in motivation and attention by type of intervention. These additions responded to reviewer concerns that participants who stayed in the group-exercise arm were likely to be more highly motivated than those who dropped out, and that greater personal attention in the manual therapy/individualized exercise arm could produce greater short-term improvements in self-reported pain and functioning.
- Adding a discussion weighing the potential trade-offs of clinical results versus the investment of time and cost of each intervention.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.